Bluebell Opticom Ltd., a provider of innovative fiber-optic solutions for fixed and remote applications, today announced the ShaxX, a rugged system designed to provide full bi-directional signaling and power for broadcast cameras fitted with standard SMPTE 304M hybrid connectors. The ShaxX allows outside broadcast and remote production crews to forgo SMPTE hybrid cables and take advantage of preinstalled fiber networks on location in order to cut rigging time and position cameras freely wherever they are needed, regardless of distance or the location of mains power sources.
“In production scenarios that require the camera operator to work far away from the CCU, SMPTE hybrid cables are often impractical. So there is great demand for getting power to the camera without using SMPTE hybrid cables. The ShaxX meets that demand,” said Paul McCann, Bluebell Opticom, managing director. “By taking power out of the hands of the CCU and inserting it on the camera end, the ShaxX eliminates the need to transfer power all the way from the CCU to the camera, leaving only the transmission of signals back and forth on a lightweight single-mode optical fiber that’s reliable and easy to rig. The ShaxX complements our standard Shax devices and, when paired with our modular fiber interface cards, can offer resilient signal transport and management of complete camera chains.”
Bluebell’s Shax hybrid alternative interface to provide power to the camera without having to transport it from a remote CCU, thereby removing the expense and effort of rigging SMPTE hybrid cables. Instead, users simply connect the ShaxX unit to the camera with an SMPTE hybrid jumper cable. The ShaxX unit, which is connected to mains power on the camera end, powers the camera. At the same time, the ShaxX is also connected to two strands of single-mode fiber in order to carry signals from the camera to the CCU and vice versa. The Shax unit on the CCU end receives those fibers and is then connected to the CCU via an SMPTE hybrid jumper cable. When used in combination with Bluebell’s BC series modular fiber interface cards, the ShaxX can multiplex multiple camera links over a single fiber.
The ShaxX overcomes the challenges of using SMPTE hybrid cables, which are expensive, heavy, and can be sensitive to lightning or other grounding variables. By replacing the SMPTE hybrid cable with plain fibre between the CCU and the camera, especially in instances such as on a ski slope or a golf course where the distance between the camera and OB vans is great, the ShaxX gives the production team the freedom to position cameras for the best shot/angle rather than being restricted by the location of mains power. At the same time, it reduces rigging time and allows crews to tap into existing fiber networks in stadiums, arenas, concert halls, and other venues.
The ShaxX is enclosed in a robust and ruggedized aluminum case, making it ideal for outside broadcast and fly-away applications. LEDs on the front panel give operators instant feedback on the status of the link between camera and CCU.
Bluebell will demonstrate the ShaxX at the 2015 NAB Show in booth N4422. The product is available now. Further information about the ShaxX